The long-time leader of Republicans in the Iowa Senate is calling it quits.

Senator Stewart Iverson of Clarion lost an internal power struggle this spring and was replaced as Senate Co-Leader. “With the events and stuff going on, I said: ‘You know, after 17 years, maybe it’s time to move on with my life,'” Iverson says.

Iverson was Senate Majority Leader for eight years and Co-Leader for the past two years and he leaves as the longest-serving Majority Leader in the state senate’s history. Iverson retired from farming a couple of years ago, and moved from rural Dows into Clarion. He’s not revealing his next career move. “I’m working on some other stuff. I’m about 99.9 percent certain,” Iverson says. “I’ll know for sure by the end of the week.”

Iverson describes himself as a conservative, an entrepreneur and a capitalist. He lists the legislature’s move to eliminate state inheritance taxes on farmland that’s passed along to a son, daughter or grandchild as his proudest achievement. Iverson says he never thought of himself as a “partisan” politician. “Generally what I’ve seen over a period of time when people have been in office they tend to, my term is ‘governmentize’ and I never really never got into that. You know, I’m still a firm believer in we have to do what’s right for the public good and sometimes that means making decisions that (are) not always popular with certain groups of people who, you know, get money out of government,” Iverson says. “I think my job was to protect the taxpayer.”

Iverson has nearly $130,000 in his campaign account, and he plans to distribute it to Republican candidates seeking election this fall. “I’m still going to help Republican candidates and do what I can to help Republicans get elected this fall,” Iverson says. “I think that our vision for the future is much better than our opponents.”

Iverson was first elected to the Iowa House in 1989 before winning election to the state Senate. There will be a special convention with delegates from the counties Iverson has represented to pick a successor whose name will be on the fall ballot. He says several candidates are considering the post, including James Kurtenbach of Nevada and George Eichhorn of Stanhope — two men who are currently members of the Iowa House.

In a prepared statement, Iverson urged all Iowans to consider public service of some kind. He closed with this line: “Iowa is too great of a state for small dreams.”